A trained collaborative divorce attorney can help you determine if this type of divorce is an option for you. Collaborative divorce involves negotiation and discussion of the many issues involved in a divorce. Your lawyer will be an integral part of your divorce, so it is important to choose someone who is trained in collaborative divorce and whose opinion and abilities you respect. Our firm can assist you with deciding if you want to pursue the collaborative divorce process.
When two spouses decide to divorce, a collaborative divorce might not be their first thought. These days, however, collaborative divorce is a popular option in North Carolina. Collaboration helps couples avoid the stress and time of asking the court to decide how to divide up property or award spousal support. In collaborating, couples have more of an opportunity to discuss their wishes and to negotiate for a mutually agreeable outcome.
Is Collaborative Divorce for You?
Here is how the North Carolina laws define collaborative divorce:
“A procedure in which a husband and wife who are separated and are seeking a divorce, or are contemplating separation and divorce, and their attorneys agree to use their best efforts and make a good faith attempt to resolve their disputes arising from the marital relationship on an agreed basis.”
In other words, you and your spouse both must agree to engage in a collaborative discussion about how to resolve your marital disputes. During the collaborative divorce process, you will attempt to reach a settlement agreement regarding the disputes. You also agree that you will try to reach a resolution without going to court, except to have the court approve the settlement agreement and sign off on the divorce.
Your Collaborative Divorce Lawyer’s Role in the Process
Your collaborative divorce lawyer and your spouse’s lawyer (you must have separate lawyers) play integral parts in the divorce process. As part of an agreement to collaboratively divorce, your lawyer agrees that he or she will not act as your lawyer if you later seek a divorce in court. The only exception is asking the court to approve a collaborative settlement agreement.
This means that your lawyer is focused on your best outcome in the collaborative process. It also ensures that any negotiations or concessions that you make during the process remain totally private. In fact, the law says that the collaborative process is confidential and cannot be disclosed in court.
Your lawyer will help you with many aspects of the collaborative divorce process:
- Understanding how the process works
- Helping you prepare and sign an agreement with your spouse to collaborate
- Assisting you with exchanging documents and information with your spouse
- Talking with you about your goals for the process
- Setting up meetings with your spouse and his or her attorney to discuss
- Locating any third-party experts needed during the process
- Preparing a settlement agreement, if a final consensus is reached
As you can see, your lawyer will assist during every step of a collaborative divorce. You will need your lawyer’s advice to impartially evaluate offers or suggestions from your spouse in order to reach your best outcome.
Finding the Collaborative Divorce Lawyer Who Is Right for You
Because you will work so closely with your lawyer during a collaborative divorce, you need to feel comfortable discussing sensitive issues with him or her. You will be negotiating and communicating regularly about the details of your life, including your children, property and finances. You will need focused advice on how to communicate and negotiate effectively. You also need to work with an attorney who has a clear view of your goals in the collaborative process.
At New Direction Family Law, we strive to understand your needs and concerns from the start of our representation. Our lawyers pride themselves on personalized and friendly service, no matter what path your separation or divorce takes. If you have questions about the collaborative divorce process, please feel free to contact us.
Let New Direction Family Law Assist You
Are you interested in collaborative divorce as an alternative to having a court oversee your divorce? The team at New Direction Family Law is available for a consultation about your situation. We will help you understand your legal rights and work hard toward your best outcome.
With decades of combined legal experience, our attorneys are knowledgeable, effective, and compassionate professionals. We proudly serve North Carolina clients in Wake, Johnston, Durham, and nearby counties. Please visit us at our website or call us at (919) 646-6561 to schedule a consultation.